New Microsoft-commissioned studies are busting out all over

New Microsoft-commissioned studies are busting out all over

Summary: Just because Microsoft's "Get the Facts" site has been replaced with a supposedly less vitriolic "/Compare" one doesn't mean that Microsoft-commissioned studies are a thing of the past. In fact, on August 27, Microsoft released two brand-new studies -- one on SharePoint and one on OOXML -- both ordered and paid for by the company.


Just because Microsoft's "Get the Facts" site has been replaced with a supposedly less vitriolic "/Compare" one doesn't mean that Microsoft-commissioned studies are a thing of the past.

In fact, on August 27, Microsoft released two brand-new studies, both ordered and paid for by the company.

One is a study that pits SharePoint Server vs. open-source collaboration/portal alternatives. That one was based on information from CMP's Institute for Partner Education and Development (IPED), plus "a series of in-depth business-focused interviews with top management from solution providers across North America and Europe."

The result: SharePoint solutions are more profitable for partners than are open-source alternatives, according to the data.

"IPED research reports that Microsoft collaboration-solution partners see larger opportunities, faster growth, and up to 25 percent greater profit than those who sell open-source products. One significant driver: pre-integration means that Microsoft SharePoint-based solutions cost less than using separate, open-source alternatives. Capitalize on this rich business opportunity," according to Microsoft's synopsis.

The IPED study found enterprise customers use consultants 80 percent of the time to create open-source-based collaboration sites and 85 percent to 90 percent to create SharePoint based ones.

Microsoft SharePoint engagements to appeal to larger companies, according to IPED. Average project size is $5,000 to $15,000 for an open-source collaboration engagement, compared to $45,000 to $150,000 for SharePoint ones. Hourly billing rates: $90 per hour, on average, for open-source partners, compared to $150 per hour for SharePoint ones.

The study surprisingly found that net-income for open-source partners tends to be higher in these engagements. PED's explanation:

"Net income percentages for open source solution providers tend to be higher as a percentage of revenue, mostly because they aren’t paying direct licensing fees for the packaged software or intellectual property. Microsoft partners may have slightly lower net margin percentages, but tend to land bigger deals resulting in substantially higher total profit dollars."

The second Microsoft-commissioned study, also released Monday, was conducted by International Data Corp. on behalf of Microsoft. The topic: "Adoption of Document Standards."

IDC polled more than 200 government and private sector organizations. The primary finding: "Office Open XML (is) the format showing the most progressive adoption rates in the marketplace over the next 12 months." Other points of note from IDC:

* "The uptake of XML-based standards seems stronger in Europe than in the United States, but in both geographies, the dominant XML standard deployed is Office Open XML. Open Document Format (ODF) is receiving some attention in the public sector but is not as widely used as Office Open XML even here."

* "Organizations do not put emphasis on discussions about the 'openness'of standards. Instead, more practical aspects are rated highly: Cost is very important as is the ability to have an easy transition of existing documents to a new standard. This is particularly true for large organizations and organizations in the public sector."

(Wow. If this finding is true, the Softies are sure wasting a lot of time, energy and money in an attempt to gain standardization for OOXML, so they can claim to have support for an "open standard.")

* "The same pragmatic attitude is found in responses to the question about whether organizations aim for a single document standard or multiple document standards. IT managers favor managing just one standard, but line-of-business (LOB) managers generally see the need for multiple standards. Therefore, when LOB managers are looking at an XML standard such as Office Open XML, they see it as one of several standards deployed in the organization."

* "In contrast to our initial thinking, organizations do not see major barriers to implementing document standards. Overall, the decision to move to a document standard is seen as of average complexity by most organizations and the cost factor is seen as a barrier for just a minority of organizations."

The timing of the release of IDC study is perfect, as Microsoft is in the midst fighting for OOXML standardization all over the world. A number of Microsoft bloggers are providing constant updates on standardization vote tallies (and Microsoft's interpretation of them).

Bottom line: Don't let the interoperability rhetoric coming out of Redmond fool you. Microsoft's battle against open-source and "open standards" backers is not over. Nor is Microsoft's policy of commissioning studies to convince users of the superiority of Microsoft's solutions.

Topics: Open Source, Collaboration, Microsoft


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • More Bloatsmoke from the Bloatfarm

    While no one can criticize the right of a company to publish whatever it wants, this work is very likely just more Bloatfarm FUD.

    Does GM give "helpful hints" on Toyota?

    One should treat emanations from the Bloatfarm as that Bloat emanations intended to confuse, sow doubt and market its discredited ideas.
    Jeremy W
    • Bloatfarm? You should leave

      Linux and Apple out of this, the story is about Microsoft.
      John Zern
      • RE:You should leave

        <i>"Linux and Apple out of this, the story is about Microsoft."</i>
        Linux <strike>and <u>Apple</U> out of this</strike>, the story is about Micro$oft's FUD. ;)
  • Take-away #1

    [i]Microsoft SharePoint engagements to appeal to larger companies, according to IPED. Average project size is $5,000 to $15,000 for an open-source collaboration engagement, compared to $45,000 to $150,000 for SharePoint ones. Hourly billing rates: $90 per hour, on average, for open-source partners, compared to $150 per hour for SharePoint ones.[/i]

    In other words, [u]according to Microsoft[/u] the end-users pay about 10x as much for Microsoft's approach. And this is, again per Microsoft, a Good Thing.

    Well, when MS talks about the [url=]"ecosystem,"[/url] it's pretty clear who's at the bottom of the food chain.
    Yagotta B. Kidding
    • That's only one of the things I took from that study.

      Number two is that companies big enough to be able to afford Sharepoint also have bigger contracts and make more profit. Well, duh. That's like saying DHL delivers more packages than a bicycle messenger.

      In the meantime smaller companies using Open Source solutions are making more money on the leftovers than they would otherwise.

      All this from a MS partner. Awesome.

      Oh, and someone needs to sort out that security certificate.
  • Flat Out Lie

    [B]but in both geographies, the dominant XML standard deployed is Office Open XML.[/B]

    ODF is outstripping OOXMl 10 to 1.
    You can BARELY see the red blip that is OOXML.
    [B]In three months, 13,400 more ODF documents have been added to the web, with only 1,329 OOXML documents added. It is hard to spin ten times as many ODF documents added as OOXML documents, especially as 451 (34%) of those new documents were added on[/B]

    OOXML is beyond critical to MS's Office bottom line, they know it. I am surprise it took so long for them to create the "study" and also to dismiss "standardization" as relatively unimportant to organizations.

    The sharepoint discussion, well, that is probably too waffly to point out that it is or is not true. I would concede, however, that sharepoint does [B]give partners more revenue[/B] over standalone Open Source counterparts. I suspect they were told integrate the parts yourself or buy the integrated solution.

    Anyway, sharepoint is not the golden handcuff they hoped for. Being able to IM over port 80 with Google's IM web client (meaning IT is in control, can monitor, etc) means that it is more useable than sharepoint. Anyone can use it and you are not locked into only those internal to the company.

    • Very misleading

      And please, try to settle down. <br>
      What I see in that trend, for what the trend is even worth, is that ooxml, in under 8 months has more than halfway closed the gap on the search trend. in fact it's reached about the average for ODF <br>
      I think it might be reasonable to give this a little more time. <br>
      what about IM with Google vs. Sharepoint? You think Sharepoint is an IM server? What about Microsoft's IM web client? <br>
      By the way, I know you hate Microsoft with all you got, but too much of the Google stuff could limit your career. :)
      • Office 2007

        Microsoft (via their paid proxys) will take credit for every Microsoft Office 2007
        installation as "adoption" of OOXML. I wouldn't put it past them to use the
        number of trial Office2007 installations (shipped on many PCs) as part of that

        In many cases, the use of OOXML by users of the Office suite will be unconsious;
        these people are not making any sort of statement about the format. Office2007
        is perfectly fine in using its own proprietary file format, but it's manufacturer
        should not claim this file format as an "open standard", as it's not open, it's poorly
        constructed, and is deliberately positioned to create confusion in the marketplace
        and in the political arena.
        • Oh you mean like

          pdf format did? Did you have the same to say about that proprietary format? <br>
          Also, are you an industry insider that knows what he's saying as fact, or are you just ruminating? <br>
          I would venture a guess that you and every other obvious anti-ms person (activist or otherwise) did not give ooxml a chance from the day you heard of it. That's a shame. <br>
          Can you elaborate on why it's poorly constructed? And provide proof it's out there to purposely create confusion. That would be interesting to see and I'm open minded enough to take anything you have and value it objectively. I don't like everything about Microsoft. I'm not an NBMer as I've been falsely accused. I just think that at this point in time the industry has an obligation to be as objective as possible and not presume guilt. It doesn't work that way, even for an entity with a supposed history.
          • Well, To start...

            ...when my last company upgraded their MSO suite, they complained to IT so much about the partners/clients/vendors not being able to read their docs that it became an IT policy to set MSO to save all docs in the old format by default.

            So an adoption of the new MSO does not mean an adoption of the new OOXML. In fact, the new file format was not the reason for the upgrade at all and in fact, listed as a negative in the analysis.

            Furthermore, every home user whom I know who has had a new computer with the trial version of MSO on it has cross-graded to OOo for free instead of upgrading to the retail MSO when the trial was over. I do not claim that my personal experience of 100% OOo installations is a true representation of all users of MSO trialware, it gets the point accross.

            As all my users know me and I explain to all of them that for 3.5 years of my four years at my last job I used OOo and had no problems with the rest of the staff of 200+ who used MSO, they easily opt to try it for a while. I tell them if it doesn't suit them, go buy MSO and I will uninstall OOo and install MSO for them. So far, no takers. Personal trusted experience speaks volumes. I still use OOo Been five+ years now.

            That aside,, commonly mis-named Open Office uses an XML file format and MS now comes out with Office Open XML to compete with the Open Office XML. That was not to purposely create confusion?

            Also, whereas the XML that OOo now uses (OASIS ODF) and the XML OOo used to use were both very clearly defined in how the app used it and how the end user can extend it, MSO's OOXML leaves some grey area as there are some parts of the standard designated as, "Internal use only" without documentation and the means & methods of user extensibility are not as clearly marked out so that the possibility of incidental overloading can occur.

            Parts of the alleged standard (MS OOXML)are still closed and proprietary. BTW, PDF is ubiquitous, cross-platform and well documented but hardly non-proprietary, hence not open by most definitions. Yet allows more third-party support in an open, cross-platform collaborative manner. MSO 2k7 is not even compatible with MSO 2k3, neither 2k3 to XP, nor XP to 2k not 2k to 97. My Adobe reader 8.x still renders my Acrobat 3.0 documents the way I meant for them to be rendered. Maybe the MSO formats are not poorly constructed at all. Maybe its the MSO rendering engines that are poorly constructed. That is an option to consider. Still, I cannot guarantee that my MSO doc will render on my clients/vendors/partners system the way it rendered on mine unless I force them all to upgrade.

            Hey, MS should think about doing that to push revenue! Oh, wait a minute....

            Anyway, the one thing about the new MSO OOXML format is that as of now, few other apps can render it and few others can construct it freely. I will give it time but why re-invent the wheel? The OASIS has done the work in setting up and defining a free and free (wine and France) open solution that is extensible, open, cross-platform standard that has no hidden or undocumented objects/methods/implementation.

            Anyway, I still believe that if the app fits, wear it. They are just tools and OOo is the right tool for me for now as it has been for a while. As soon as it can render and create MSO OOXML docs, it probably still would fit my purposes.
          • so you think personal experience

            is the tell all? I don't know more than a handful of people using 00 or star office and none professionally. This standard is new. And it should be a seperate standard. Microsoft will also support ODF but they need a standard, which tripell has said Apple is already using in some form with it's apps. It's proprietary vendors like Microsoft and Apple and Sun to some degree and many others who would benefit. It's a different domain. MSO 2007 is vastly different than OO and doesn't fit in the same userbase. MSO is a full scale set of enterprise ready apps with loads of server side apps that support many varied backends and functionality well beyond that of OO. KISS apps are fine but there need be a standard for the MSO and Apple like suites. <br>
            Forget your political stances and in fact maybe the OASIS should extend their hand again to the OOXML project and lend their expertise. It's bleeding obvious that the vast majority of critics of OOXML are open source backers who want proprietary software to be killed off. Just like the FSF and all other open source organizations. <br>
            Face it, ODF has as much political and strategic BS behind it as OOXML. <br>
            why do you care anyway? OOXML is already a standard, under ecma control and freely distribuable. What's wrong with OSI standard approval? It will be worked out.
            As to WHO came up with using XML for this first, Microsoft has been working with moving to an XML based office for years. They has considered it in the beginning stages of Office 2003 and I believe they had the idea on the table ahead of the open source community, which does nothing but try to emulate what windows has or is doing at any given time.
          • Bias

            Yes, I'm not a blind supporter of MS. I don't like the way they do business, and I turned down many chances to go to work for them in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

            That said, I've actually [i]read[/i] the "Office Open XML" spec, all of it. It's not much of an improvement over the binary format other than being well delimited.

            Sections aren't nested within chapters, paragraphs aren't nested within sections. You don't have any good overall document structure. Text decoration is not nested. Styles are a mess. There are elements that are described but refer to application specific behavior [i]without defining that behavior.[/i] As far as I can tell, they took the binary container that is a .doc file and represented each binary structure by an XML element. Makes it easy for them to implement, as all they need is a file reader; it doesn't have to transform the structure, just the representation. Makes it nearly impossible to implement if you're not Microsoft. It also ties them to a particular application structure, so even if they re-write Office from scratch, the internals will most likely look very much like they do today.

            The attempt to create confusion is the use of the name "Office Open XML"; the name looks too much like "Open Office" to be a coincidence. Add to that the fact that they call it "Open" when, in fact, it is demonstrably [i]not[/i] open. It's not even good XML. The claim to be "Open" is to get around the requirements that many governments are imposing on archival storage of documents, which generally call for a vendor neutral format that faithfully reproduces documents regardless of the source of the application that created them.

            I have not been involved in any PDF debates, and don't have much to say about that. I'm not even a heavy ODF supporter. I seldom use, prefering TeX/LaTeX, and using MS Word at work. What I [i]am[/i] a supporter of is [u]open[/u] standards. Vendor neutral, freely implementable, fully specified standards.

            Add to that that, reading through the minutes of several of the European standards body meetings about OOXML, the Microsoft representative has lied about a number of things, including their attempted participation in the Oasis body (that defined ODF), and the actions of those closely associated with Microsoft or their partners, and I see a pattern of coersion, and downright rigging of the system.

            So, as far as I can tell, I don't actually fit your model. I've done my homework. My reaction is not knee-jerk. Still, what I say is my opinion. You're welcome to disagree, but it doesn't change my opinion. And I'll express my opinion when, where and how I see fit.

            Is that sufficient?
          • RE: did not give OOXML a chance?

            I believe you are right. Anti-MS folks have not "given OOXML a chance". Neither have you. How can you? How can they? Here is a paper which describes why NO ONE except Microsoft can "give OOXML a chance" because ONLY MS can create translators using it.

            "This paper examines whether OOXML can be fully implemented by vendors other than Microsoft and concludes that a number of application specific and undisclosed behaviours (as well as a number of other technical flaws) in the proposed standard make this impossible. Also while Microsoft has waived patent claims for the explicit and required parts of the specification it is clearly stated that this does not extend to the undisclosed behaviours or ambiguous definitions, providing a legal as well as technical barrier to OOXML's implementation. "
            It is also clear than MS has taken the sheeps clothing off and exposed its true, wolfish nature. In Sweden, for example, 20 corporations go to the voting meeting, pay $2,600 to become a voting member, and vote for OOXML. They never showed any prior interest and were never part of prior discussions. After this vote I doubt they will attend another meeting, unless Microsoft wants to ram through another one of its "open" formats.

            Microsoft's corruption of the process makes a farce of the ISO standardization committees. It exposes Microsoft's overtures to the FOSS community as flagrant hypocrisy.
          • Funny thing, the FOSS community

            has never reached out to Microsoft. They have been out to stop proprietary software as their single minded goal since before linux. Why isn't linux torvalds opinion respected any longer? He was the only one that allowed this to happen. But now RMS says the kernel is insignificant portion and his views on having both open and closed source as a good thing, have been drowned out by the zealous extreme views of those that only wanted his kernel and not his voice. Sad, really sad. Torvalds has more bad to say about FOSS and the FSF than good. <br>
            I think that speaks fact that says it all.
          • False accusations?

            If you want a peek at the sort of tactics that Microsoft has stooped to in order to get OOXML approved, read the following (on Groklaw):


            You may not like what Groklaw has to say, but this is not something they made up.
          • If you want a peek at the sort of tactics the FSF

            is undertaking, just read the GPL v3. Anyone with any sense and any concern for what the companies and users polled want, would never use this biased and politically motivated license. <br>
            Microsoft has governments against it, cause it's American and the profit go back home. Of course they have a problem with, whether the majority of their citizens do or not .Next it will be a law to use open source or don't do business with the government. What the EU has already done is nothing short of tyranny. What the FSF has done in it's recruiting of members to bash Vista at all costs and it's "StopVista" website is proof enough. Microsot has reacted to the threats from open source, not created them. They've shown a willingness to work with open source but the new license shoots that down. <br>
            The vocal minority and anti-ms leaning bigots are controlling the media and pushing realy hard, not so much to adopt any well defined software, but to denigrate Microsoft and with it, it's huge user base. Millions upon millions of users working hard everyday and helping to drive the free market while extremeists are resorting to Dumping software on the market to stop them at any cost. <br>
            The motives and behavior of the open source community is no better, never has been any better and will never be any better than that of Microsoft. Their goal is not that of the founder of Linux, Linus Torvalds who supports a world with both open and closed source and the willingness to work together. RMS and all of the extremists pushed him aside like a used rag and are not pushing hard to control all aspects of computing globally. <br>
            It's going to fall apart however since it's driven by vengence and greed and hate and Microsoft will be there to keep on keeping on. Guaranteed.
      • Clarify?

        Either the coffee has not kicked in or I am missing something. What does [B]in under 8 months has more than halfway closed the gap on the search trend[/B] mean?

        I liked sharepoint when i first saw it, at customer sites. Literally, to them, so to me, it was a great IM client that linked to calendar, other stuff so you could see why a person might not be online, etc. That's the key function most people use. Even though lacking in features, they people I know using sharepoint's IM dropped it for google's IM because, as I said, it uses port 80. MSN, Yahoo, all or normally blocked by IT. If you can get to the web though, with corporate IT's blessing, you can IM with Google.

    • Try this search
      • Wrong ODT! Hah, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!

        Did you read the hot news links?

        Try .docx, .odt and you get this:

        and see what happens. Notice the results in the European countries.
        • European Countries? Try this.

          I had the list in the previous post sorted by highest to lowest .docx.

          This link:

          is sorted by highest to lowest .odt.

          Interesting when you compare the two.